Life really is full circle isn’t it?

BIG NEWS TO ANNOUNCE!

Fun fact: I used to be a reporter! Yep! I graduated with a broadcasting degree and got a job right after graduation as a production assistant on a local Charlotte channel, WCCB Fox Charlotte. I was a camera operator, worked the teleprompter (I’m Ron Burgandy?), and made sure Mark Mathis got in a suit and did the weather 😉 I would often times sit at the desk on set, and practice/pretend to be an on-air personality. Well, within a year of being behind-the-scenes, I was asked to do on-air reporting, with my first live remote being a “Grand Opening” of an Anytime Fitness! (I had really made it folks!) 😉

Sporty outfit+ponytail=professional reporter! Pic from 2004/2005ish?

And just for funsies, I’ll tell you a good (read, embarrassing) story:

I was asked to get on a machine to show how it worked for one of my live hits. The trainer was like, “come do this one!” And yall, it was the inner thigh machine…you know which one I’m talking about…the one you sit on, spread your legs, and resist the weight to close it. But I’m a team player, so I said “sure!” and hopped on the machine. While the trainer was talking to the camera, I was in the background doing the workout…opening and closing my legs. But here’s the deal…I was totally unaware that MY mic was hot, and I was making grunting and groaning noises the whole time. And they were being broadcast live?! So basically while my legs are opening and closing, I’m making sex noises in sync with them, MY FIRST TIME EVER ON AIR!!! But it’s cool because it’s not like I told EVERYONE I KNEW, like my grandma, to watch my big debut or anything! UGH!

I will never live that down!

But they asked me to do another live remote a few days later, so i guess I didn’t embarrass the station that much 😉 Or they were just desperate for on-air talent? Probably the latter of the two.

My point in telling you that story is two fold:

1. Because I have no shame in (my) life’s humiliating game

2. Because I’m coming back to TV!

That’s right! That same station is now WCCB Charlotte’s CW, and I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor on their morning show! I’ve gotten to do a good amount of TV spots over the last decade with of my old cakery, because people just love to look at cake! But when I closed that biz and started this blog, of course I hoped that I’d still get to combine my love of broadcasting and my blog life together somehow someway, but to go back to my original station is a full circle moment for sure!

Panther tailgate cake waaaaay back in the day! 2009-ish? Sorry its blurry!

Wilson’s World live from the cakery! January 2014

My first segment will be Wednesday, March 29th from 8-9am! It’s a full hour show, similar to The View in that we’ll cover a variety of topics! I won’t be on every day because they’ll have experts on from their respective fields, depending on the topic, during those days. And as much as I claim to know a little bit about everything, it’s only right to share the spotlight 😉

Anyways, I just wanted to let yall know this exciting news, and give a big thanks to my friend, Holly, who I met on my first day at WCCB a million years ago, who threw my name in the hat! It helps to stay friends with your old television peeps…she’s now a director, and I couldn’t be more proud of how far she has come! And it means we get to be reunited again!!! How crazy is that Hols?!

Holly and I on the set! 2004

Holly, Wendy, and I wearing our camera operator headsets! 2004

Oh, and speaking of TV, I was on Charlotte Today last week, and here’s the link if you missed it and want to check it out!

Click here to see the clip!

Hope you tune in, and thanks for all of the support over the years! I love yall!

My best feature!

I was fortunate to be featured A LOT with my old cake business. It seems like there isn’t a local news program I wasn’t on, a local newspaper or magazine I wasn’t in, and even made national publications with articles written about Got What It Cakes/me from The New York Times, to Redbook Magazine to Huffington Post, and more! And although a blog is a different entity completely, I hope I can have that kind of luck again!!!

But for now, I’ll leave you with my biggest and best feature, the story of how I got on the Katie Couric show!!! Many of yall have heard it, so feel free to skip it! But if you’re new here, it’s a long one, so grab your favorite drink/snack, and enjoy…

The day my idol interviewed me!

It’s something that I had yearned for all those years as a broadcasting major; something I had practiced in my mirror, more times than I care to admit.  Except that I always thought I’d be the interviewer, not the interviewee.  I even mentioned this person in the speech that I gave at my sister’s wedding reception! I was obsessed, and in awe of her…and yet SHE wanted to talk to ME?!  This is the story of how I ended up on Katie Couric’s talk show.  No big deal. 😉

How did this happen you ask?  Yeah, I’m still processing it too…many years later.

It all starts with Jenn…as most of my best stories do.  Jenn is one of my besties, and also happens to be an insanely talented photographer over here at Peanut Butter and Jenny Photography, and a little over a year ago, she started her business’s facebook page.  People, of course, LOVED it, and she booked a lot of sessions in a matter of days!  She happened to say something on her personal FB page to the effect of “I think Facebook’s really onto something yall…people are finding my page, and booking like crazy!”  Well, a girl named Laura, who just happened to be college/facebook friends with Jenn, saw her post, and wrote her saying, “I work at Facebook, and am so glad your business page is working out for you!!!”  Jenn was all, “you work at facebook?!  My bestie and I are obsessed with facebook!  And she has a page too, and it’s pretty popular, and I don’t know what I’m doing with mine, so whatever Mandie tells me to do, I do.”  So just like that, Jenn handed me the best “publicist” ever on a Zuckerburg-coated, silver platter.  Want to see her?!  Isn’t Laura gorgeous?!

So after a few weeks of Jenn telling me that I needed to email Laura back (I got busy, and honestly didn’t really know why anyone would care about my story, and lil ole me), I finally did and we set up a conference call for the three of us.  I wowed Laura with my wit and charm, and Jenn and I made sure to make each other sound amazing too.  Then Laura set up another conference call…this time with some additional peeps from her facebook team.  At then end of the call, she asked, “is it okay if I pitch your story to some outlets?!”  Let’s pause here for a second…I thought that by “outlets,” she was maybe going to send out a little blurb about my business on their Intranet or something…facebook has that, right?  Well, I was wrong. Laura emailed Jenn and I a few days later and said, “Huffington Post is doing a story on you two!!!!!!!!!!!!”  We freaked out…couldn’t believe it…we were in shock, and then we were like, ‘we got this!’  Read about it here

Then, what happened next became a snowball of epic proportions…reporters started calling me.  Laura wasn’t kidding when she told me, “pick up your phone whenever you see a number you don’t recognize.”  You may have heard of a paper called The New York Times?  Yeah, they called first yall. Nothing like baptism by fire.  And then Redbook. Yep, they called too!  And then CNBC picked up the link.  And Modern Mom.  And then my local Fox station did an interview.  And so on, and so on.  And then it got quiet for a few weeks.  And I thought, ‘well, it was fun while it lasted!’

I was sitting at my friend’s kitchen table one Friday night, and I checked my email.  There was one from Laura, and it said, “I don’t want to get your hopes up, but we pitched your story to Katie Couric’s new talk show team, and they loved it. And she knows about your articles in the NYT, and in Redbook, and she’d love for you to come on the show.  Oh, and the show is going to celebrate the 1 billionth user on Facebook, so Sheryl Sandberg, our COO, will be there too! They want to use you as an example of a Facebook business success story!”  Holy shit.  I started crying right there at that table.  My whole life came to this moment. My college major was broadcasting, so I could be the next Katie. My mom and I would watch the Today Show every morning before work and school, and I would study her.  When she chose to retire, I wanted to fill her shoes. And now…NOW… she wanted to interview me?!!!  Well, OF COURSE, I got my hopes up.  And then, I heard nothing.  For the entire weekend.  And I realize lots of people don’t work on the weekends, but I do, and Laura always works, and so I got a little bummed.

Monday mid-morning, I answer my phone, and it was a very hurried woman saying, “hello, is this Mandie?!  I just wanted to see if you were still interested in being on the Katie show because I emailed you this morning and haven’t heard back!” Um, how did I miss this? Oh yeah, because it came in 2 hours earlier, and I had gotten the girls up for school, did the crazy morning rush, ran out the door, carpooled, went to three stores for supplies and came home.  I hadn’t checked my email yet.  But there IT was, and here SHE was, and I said, “I’m so sorry…I hadn’t check it yet…I checked it every hour over the weekend, but finally got busy enough that I sidelined my neurosis for a few hours.  But, YES, I’m still interested!  Actually I’m more than interested…I’m already there.  And the show is going amazing! I’m being really adorable on it.”  She stammered for a second, and I realized she didn’t get my sense of humor yet, and I thought I blew it.  But she said, “GREAT! We tape Thursday at noon…hold one moment while I book your plane tickets and line up your driver.  And can you make a cake for Katie…just something small will do?  And that’s it!  You’re booked…I’ll email you the tickets and any other info you’ll need.  Have a great day.”  But before she hung up, I jumped in and said, “Wait! Um, is there any way my mom can come with me?  She’s going to be in NY visiting my Oma and Opa anyways that day, and she doesn’t need a plane ticket or anything!  She’s a huge fan, and I think I may be able to creep into the ‘favorite child’ position if you help me out here.” And she said, “of course! Just send me her info and she’ll be on the list as your guest. Is that it?!”  “Yep!  Thank you so much for this,” I said.

And just like that, I pressed ‘end,’ and I finally released everything I needed to.  I slumped to the ground, and cried hysterically.  Like, the ugliest of ugly cries. I imagined this was what feeling really proud of yourself felt like. And I was feeling every morsel of it.  And then I called my stud, and he naturally thought something bad had happened to the minis (I’m not allowed to call him mid-hysterics anymore, unless the girls and/or I am hurt for reals).  But through tears, I finally got it out and told him, and I think he cried too. And then, I called my mom.  And I shouted that Katie Couric was going to interview me.  And then I said, “but that’s not the best news!  You’re coming with me!!!” Stunned, my mom said something to the effect of “Shut up. No. Stop. Are you serious Mandie? Holy shit! What?! No way!  Oh my God…really?!!!!”  And we cried, and squealed, and cried some more.  And then it hit me, ‘oh shit! I have a ton of stuff to do in 2 days!’

From there, it was a mad dash to get my eyebrows plucked, hair trimmed, outfits and jewelry bought, childcare lined up, design, bake and make a cake, still run a business, still be a mom and wife, pack, and oh yeah, LOSE 40 POUNDS.  But because I have the best village around, everything got done.  Well, the last thing didn’t happen, damnit.  Apparently no amount of stress can take off that many pounds in two days.  Whatevs.

So about the cake.  I realize the producer said a small cake would do.  But if you think I was going to give Katie and Sheryl (yes, we’re on a first name basis) a single tier, six inch round cake, on national TV, you are cray.  So I made a three tier cake, covered in rosettes and sprinkles, so that if it got damaged in route, I knew I could fix it easily enough.  If I were to do a smooth buttercream cake like I usually do, and it got dented, there wouldn’t be a lot I could do to fix it with limited time and resources.  I called the airline and was told I could package one tier in each box, for a total of three boxes, and then have a roll cart, plus a carry on bag.  I was told this by two separate people the day before my flight.  Well, they were both wrong.  After getting through security (twice)…apparently buttercream is a liquid…I got to the gate.  And the jackass behind the ticket counter said I couldn’t have five carry-ons and sent me to customer service.

So I promptly went there, and starting crying. And begging. And crying some more.  And he also took no pity on me.  Nor did he care who the cake was for.  I named dropped as much as I could…but nada.  So you see those boxes?  Yeah, I had to open them all, and on the floor of the airport, I had to stack the cake, and then put it in the biggest box.  Then I had to use luggage tape to cover the top of the box because it wouldn’t close.  Then I had to check the cart under the plane, and finally I was down to two carry-ons.  I took two steps on the plane, and the flight attendant said, “I’ll take that box,” and I was all, “huh?!  Can’t I put it in the open seat next to me?! I have a whole row to myself!”  “I’m sorry Miss, but everything has to be stored under the seat in front of you, or in the overhead bin.  I’ll take your package and keep it up here,” she said.  She practically had to pry the box from my hands {think Ben Stiller in ‘Meet the Parents’}, and I retreated to the back of the plane, sat down, and cried some more.  I just knew that all of the work that went into it would be ruined upon either take off, or landing…a tiered cake CANNOT survive those kind of angles, nor the shaking upon stopping.  And I was soooooooooooo lucky to have turbulence the ENTIRE flight.  But no biggie…it’s not like I had been up for four days straight, or was anxious for the biggest day of my life, or the fact that I was going to be interviewed by my idol on national tv.  Let’s add turbulence to the flight! YAY!  {dripping in sarcasm}

I landed, and was handed my “cake” box, but I didn’t have the courage to look at the disaster that I was SURE was awaiting me inside that box of horrors.  So I got my cart, and threw my bag on my shoulders, and made my way down to my driver.  Yes, seeing him, holding that sign, did make me a little giddy!!!  I was shaking, so the picture is blurry…but still fabulous!  It says my real name, Miranda Miller (since that was on my ticket).

 

He was precious, and said, “what’s in the box?” And I said “well it was a cake, but I’m too terrified to look at it after that shit storm of a flight.”  And he said, “I’ll open it for you,” and when he did, he said excitedly, “it looks good to me!!!”  After I peered into the box, where a perfect cake existed, I started crying (shocking, I know).  I couldn’t believe it!  And then I looked at him and said, “if you eff this up with crazy, New York City driving, I’ll kick your ass!” LOL  He drove like he was driving a newborn home from the hospital for the first time…10 and 2…and used his horn anytime someone got remotely near us.  As we were approaching the studio, I called my mom to see how close she was, as she was walking from a subway station of some sort, and we literally rounded the corner as she was walking around the same corner.  We said “jump in the car, and we’ll ride to the studio together.” As she got in, she said, “I think we’re really close actually,” and not 20 feet later, he pulled in front of the ABC studios.  We had a good laugh about how she had walked all the way across the city, and then I made her jump in the car with a few feet left to go.

We checked in at security, and were given an assistant right away.  I got the cake in the green room’s fridge, and we went up to our dressing room!  We were like two little school girls, still in shock from what was going on, where we were, and for the moments still to come!

We settled in, and then were told that hair and makeup was ready for us.  So we scurried down the hall, and not only did they do mine, but they did my mom’s as well!  We were tickled.

The girl in the makeup chair was a Kate Middleton look alike, who was filming a bit for another episode to be aired the next day.  The irony was not lost on me.  Here’s a little secret…I’m obsessed with all things royal, specifically Princess Diana, her boys, and Kate.  It dawned on me in that moment that my guardian angel, Di, had watched over me this whole time.  I bet she’s the one who kept the cake from collapsing too!  She.is.amazing 🙂

This is the producer briefing me while I got my hair done.  This was a very surreal moment for me.

It took A LOT of work to cover up the damage that crying for days on end, and little-to-no sleep, had done to my face.  But these two magicians made me look like this!!!


So not to seem too #firstworldproblem here, but I wasn’t allowed to wear the fabulous necklace on the show.  It was interfering too much with my microphone.  Womp womp.  But big thanks to Page 6 for dressing me in a fabulous outfit, that I felt beautiful in!

 My adorable mom right before THE moment happened…the moment where Katie walked by our dressing room, and mom gasped SO LOUDLY that Katie backtracked, stuck her head in our room, and said, “are you okay?” And mom lost it.  And I had to keep it together, and act cool, calm and collected. Katie said something like, “you must be Mandie?” and I said, “you must be Katie?!” HA!  You know it’s been forever since she’s heard that!  She ‘got’ me right away, and laughed. I told Katie that I am so used to being around A-list celebrities, but that my mom isn’t, so to go easy on her “starstruckedness.” My mom, through sobs said, “can I hug you?” and Katie was all, “of course you can!!! Thank you for coming here, and we’re so excited to have your daughter on the show! And you too!”  And mom didn’t say anything…just cried in Katie’s shoulder.  And I apologized profusely for the hot mess, and we all laughed a bunch. And mom said, “I’ve loved you forever” to her, and it was sweet.  She was so incredibly kind to us…and my mom hasn’t looked that happy in the longest time.  I was so excited to have had even a little part in making that moment happen.  Then we headed down to set!
I don’t say this much, but I look really pretty here yall. Everyone, let’s just have a quick moment right now, for what can be done with professional hair, makeup and lighting.  Annnnnnnd, moment’s over.
After we finished taping the show, it was picture time! Let’s start with the fact that Sheryl Sandberg wanted a picture with me.  Um, okay incredibly inspiring woman that I’m in awe of…yes, you can take a pic with me.  But don’t look me in the eyes…because I’m almost as important as Oprah.  I’m sure you understand.
PS. Yall, Sheryl is amaze.  I am her best friend…she told me so. Really.
Then came time for pics with Katie, and with the cake, and with my mom, and all sorts of silliness ensued.

We stayed for a bit, fed Katie cake, watched her film a bit of solo scenes, and then had to pack up.  Our driver picked us up, took my mom to the station, and then I went straight back to the airport.  Where I ran into my dear friend’s Dad, who was getting off of the plane that I was about to get on! How about this for small world…the very first time I ever came to NYC was with him, and his daughter, 20 years ago! He was like, “what are you doing here?!” “Oh, just getting interviewed by Katie Couric, and meeting Sheryl Sandberg…you know…just like any other Thursday,” I replied.

When I had a few seconds to check my feeds, I saw that Katie posted this picture of us on her IG feed!

And then, Sheryl posted this pic of us on her facebook page (with her 1.25 million subscribers), and even tagged me in it!

I remember sitting on the airport floor, looking around at all of the people.  I’ve ALWAYS loved to people watch, and wonder what everyone’s story was for that day.  Where are they going, who are they going to see?  Is it for something happy, or something sad…or maybe it’s for business? But I was confident that at that moment, no one could feel as good as I was feeling…that I literally had a life-changing experience just hours before hand.  I’m 5’2,” but I walked so tall that day.  I was proud of myself.  All of the hard work, sleepless nights, time away from my family over the last few years, and days…it all felt worth it.

When I got home, and walked in the door, it was very quickly back to reality!  I had six cakes due that weekend, and 1 1/2 days to do them all. Oh yeah, and I had around 600 of the nicest messages EVER awaiting me…they really got me through yall, so for everyone who wrote, called, texted, emailed, came over, etc., it meant the world to me.  I did take an hour on Friday to watch the episode with some friends, and besides the fact that I have a bad habit of closing my eyes when I talk, I think I did a great job!

And so did Katie, as she was very complimentary of me after taping.  I asked her if she wanted to produce a show with me in it.  I’m still waiting to hear back 😉  Sheryl also sent me a lovely email, which I’ll treasure forever.

I tweeted Katie about the premiere of season 2, and she tweeted me back!

For a while, I thought, ‘what will I ever do to top this?!’  And I realized, it will be damn near impossible. And you know what?  That’s okay.

I’m NOT going to cry about it 😉